Think Globally, Eat Globally

The eat local backlash has officially begun. It had to happen, of course; a movement does not rocket to popularity (locavore was 2007’s “word of the year,” according to the New Oxford American Dictionary folks) without creating a few enemies along the way.

One of those enemies is journalist Joel Stein. The writer was last seen in these pages taking former presidential candidate Tom Tancredo out for a Mexican meal. In the latest issue of Time Magazine, Stein pens a piece titled “Extreme Eating,” in which he fulminates about the antiglobalization bent of the locavore movement and creates a meal based on imported foods:

To prove how wrong the farm-to-table movement is, I cooked a dinner purely of farm-to-airplane food. Nothing I made was grown within 3,000 miles of where I live in Los Angeles. And to completely give the finger to the locavores, I bought the entire meal in the local-food movement’s most treasured supermarket, the one that has huge locally grown signs next to the fruits and vegetables: Whole Foods.

His meal of Spanish Marcona almonds, Chilean sea bass (a formerly problematic fish choice, though it’s still on Seafood Watch’s “avoid” list), Peruvian asparagus, and Hawaiian pineapple washed down with a nice French red may have been un-PC, but it was, he reports, delicious.

Maybe Stein is just trying to put the scales back in balance from the avalanche of press about people living for a year on 100-mile diets. Or maybe his rant is just the tip of the iceberg.